How to Diagnose Bladder Cancer?

Even though the earliest Bladder Cancer is detected; the better are the chances for successful treatment. But; till now there is no accurate test that can screen the population for bladder cancer; thus many patients are diagnosed with Bladder Cancer once they have developed symptoms.

Doctors advise individuals over 40 years of age to get the penetrate evaluation of specific pelvic regions: kidneys, bladder, and urethra. Here are some of the diagnostic tests for the treatment of Bladder Cancer.

The examination tests of cancer include one or more urine tests, cystourethroscopy, and an imaging test of the kidneys and ureters.

Urine Test:

The following are important urine tests to take if Bladder Cancer is suspected:

  • Urinalysis: A chemical indicator is used in this test that changes color in the presence of certain features in the urine like white blood cells, red blood cells, and glucose (sugar). The urine is also examined with a microscope.
  • Urine cytology: A pathologist examines the sample of the urine under a microscope to check for abnormal-appearing cells that shed from the lining of the bladder.
  • Urine culture: The urine sample is placed in a growth medium and monitored for signs of bacterial growth. The bacteria are then identified and diagnosis confirms infection or cancer.

Imaging Test:

Imaging tests are done to detect any lumps or abnormalities in the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. To stage Bladder Cancer; imaging assessment with computed tomography [CT] scan, magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], intravenous pyelogram [IVP], or kidney ultrasound is necessary.

  • CT Scan: A CT scan conducted with the help of contrast dye; examines the structure of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder that helps determine any blockage in the urinary tract.  It also helps determine if cancer has spread to regions of the body outside the bladder.
  • Pyelogram: Pyelogram uses contrast dye that is injected via a vein or via a penetrating. Many patients show direct catheter into the bladder. The tumor is made visible on an X-ray as the dye outlines the bladder and associated organs.
  • Ultrasound and sonography: Ultrasound and sonography determine the size and the spread of the tumor with the help of sound waves to image abnormalities.
  • MRI: In order to evaluate the urinary tract a magnetic resonance imaging of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder is done that provides useful information about the staging of bladder cancer.
  • IVP: A radiopaque dye is injected into the patient’s vein that collects in and is excreted by the kidneys. As it passes through the urinary drainage system it detects abnormal lumps on X-ray images. However; there is a small risk of having an allergic reaction to the dye. Thus, people who are allergic to contrast dye, iodine, or shellfish should let the radiologist know.
  • Cystoscopy/cystourethroscopy: The procedure is done by a urologist/oncologist to directly visualize the lining of the urethra and bladder. In this, an anesthetic gel is applied to the urethra in order to avoid discomfort. A small tube with a camera (cystoscope) is then inserted into the bladder through the urethra.


A biopsy test performed in a laboratory or an operating room can also be done for examining abnormal tissue. A biopsy is usually done by cystoscopy.

Transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT)

TURBT is a procedure that is done after imaging tests are performed. In this; resection of bladder mass by cystoscopy under anesthesia is seen to confirm the extent of the tumor. After TURBT; can be classified as invading the muscle or not.

Dr. Paavas Sharma
Dr. Paavas Sharma
Articles: 211
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